Personal Days: Watching a Basketball Game with St. Augustine

Brenden, my oldest son, is in the middle of basketball season. It's been an interesting year in the stands. Our fans have been particularly--Hmmm, how to say this?--vocal and enthusiastic this year. And not in a good way. And the most mortifying thing about this is that we are a Christian school. Christian text and mottoes fill the gym and we start the game with a word of prayer. And still, despite all this, the behavior from our fans is abysmal. Last week our Athletic Director sent an email to the parents of the school reminding them to tone it down. It's sad.

As I still in the stands, as yelling takes place all around me, my mind tends to drift to Augustine.

Our desires are good but disordered. As I watch parents I can't but affirm the goodness of loving your child and wanting the best for him or her. Nor do I fault the love of excellence and effort in the struggle to win in a competition. All these desires are good and loving these things is godly, healthy and appropriate.

But these desires--the love of a child, the desire to win--become disordered when elevated to the highest place. The love of a child becomes disordered when we begin to yell at other children and cheer their failures. The desire to win becomes disordered when we begin to despise the other team and dehumanize the referees.

So, wish us luck this evening. Brenden as a game tonight. That's where I'll be.

Sitting in the stands. Cheering Brenden and the Panthers. Thinking about Augustine.

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